Christchurch Youths Sentenced in Unprovoked Attacks on Gay Men, Victim Speaks Out

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02/27/2024

In a harrowing series of events that shook Christchurch, five youths have been sentenced for their roles in unprovoked attacks on gay men, including a distressing assault on Kelly Hopkins. The attacks, which were filmed and shared within a private group, were reportedly inspired by violent content on social media from the United States, leading to ‘copycat offending.’ The sentencing shed light on the premeditated and group nature of these crimes, targeting vulnerable individuals under the guise of vigilante action or robbery, with no evidence suggesting the victims’ sexual orientation was a motive. These attacks spanned several locations across Christchurch, targeting individuals who were lured through social media platforms. The assailants filmed their violent acts, sharing the footage in private groups. The court heard from two victims who shared their ongoing struggles with physical and emotional pain, underscoring the severe impact of these crimes. Sentences ranged from community work to supervision, with at least one offender expressing remorse for their actions. Kelly Hopkins, who was deceived into meeting one of the attackers through Grindr, was severely beaten, leading to physical injuries and psychological trauma. Hopkins shared his harrowing experience, from the initial encounter to the aftermath of the assault, including his diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder and diminished trust and enjoyment in life. His story highlights the brutality of the attacks and the profound effects on his well-being.

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